GOP senator defends Trump aide who resigned over domestic violence record


Sen. Orrin Hatch's response to Rob Porter's resignation in disgrace was to praise him and complain that allegations of domestic violence against him had surfaced.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch responded to reports of domestic violence allegations against a top Trump aide who was forced to resign in disgrace Wednesday by complaining about “character assassins” that amounted to “a vile attack on such a decent man.”

A report from the conservative Daily Mail alleged that Donald Trump's staff secretary Rob Porter was verbally and physically abusive toward his ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby.

"He pulled me, naked and dripping, from the shower to yell at me," she recalled of one instance, after their one year anniversary.

The paper also published photos of Willoughby with a black eye, which she said came after Porter punched her.

Porter's first wife, Colbie Holderness, also told the paper that Porter "was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left."

Willoughby filed a protective order against Porter, and Politico reports that the order prevented him from getting a full security clearance when the Trump team came into the White House.

Porter previously served as chief of staff for Hatch. He was described by Politico as a "deeply influential aide who spends almost every day by President Donald Trump’s side."

Hatch responded to the story with a full-throated and indignant defense of Porter. "It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man."

And he actually lashed out at the paper for reporting on the disturbing allegations. "Shame on any publication that would print this — and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name," Hatch complained.

Despite knowing about the protective order, Trump's chief of staff John Kelly praised Porter as "a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him" and described him as "a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional."

After these reports emerged, Porter quit his White House job — though he still insisted that the "outrageous allegations" are false and called them "a coordinated smear campaign."

The resignation did not have the blessing of the White House, and Kelly reportedly objected to it, showing more support for a man accused of spousal abuse than he did for the friends and family of a soldier killed in combat.

Hatch has been a reliable booster of the Trump White House. The Salt Lake Tribune has taken notice of Hatch's "unquenchable thirst for power," criticizing him for continually attaching himself to the Trump administration.

Recently he told Trump that he could be the greatest president in American history, and slobbered all over Trump after the passage of the Republican tax bill.

At a White House ceremony celebrating the unpopular measure, Hatch called Trump "one heck of a leader" who had passed the bill through his "sheer will."

He said the Trump presidency would be greatest "we’ve seen not only in generations but maybe ever."

Apparently, all of that praise means that even when there are serious accusations against a member of the Trump team, Hatch will go to bat for him alongside everyone else in the White House.